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Healthy Eating Lesson Sequence for Kindergarten: A Critical Literacy Approach


P.E. & Health  


K, 1  

By – Marg Duncan

The following principles underpin a sequenced plan of lessons pertaining to the Health component of PDHPE. The activities have been prepared for students in their first year school. This unit of work has been integrated across all key learning areas, especially English. As the two-hour literacy session makes up a large component of timetabling in the early years, many of the lessons can be scheduled within the literacy block or as extensions to reading and/or issues raised within the literacy session.

Increasingly children are exhibiting poor eating habits. It is not unusual to see children eating a range of lollies, chocolates, nutella, chips etc before school, at recess and also for lunch. Additionally children tend to eat party pies at recess as well as large pies and party pies for lunch. Another popular food consumed by many children is dried noodles, generally without the consumption of water. Children are eating these foods daily. Many of these foods are high in sugar, fat, preservatives and artificial colorings. Very few children are buying or bringing lunches containing salad vegetables and fruit.

The texts chosen for the literacy session will enhance the learning concepts targeted from the Strand: Personal Health Choices as required by the NSW Personal Development, Health and Physical Education K-6 Syllabus. Specific texts have been chosen for their ability to provide a context that challenges children’s thinking about what they eat. For example, Emily’s Wonderful Pie has been chosen to open discussion about an obvious popular food choice by many school children. A critical literacy approach to this text will serve to support the lesson sequence. The factual text Eating Right will support student’s understanding of basic information about food groups and nutrients.

Integration Ideas:
English: Emily’s Wonderful Pie – Critical literacy/ Rhyme. Mr Gumpy’s Outing – Critical Literacy
CAPA: Children role-play being ‘nutrients’ in healthy/unhealthy foods. Develop Readers Theatre script from Emily’s Wonderful Pie and present at school assembly
Science/Technology [Cooking]: Children observe amount of fat (butter) present in pie crust recipe; Lesson Sequence: Children’s ideas about fruit & vegetables.
HSIE: Integrates with ‘Meeting Needs-We Need Food’- focus on foods from other cultures, eg Asian and Southern European, which are generally healthier. Note their influence on Australian diet. Math: 3D, 2D, Models, Numeration, Mass & Area.

Features of the Learning Sequence:
The first lesson begins with the familiar – the children’s own school lunches. Personal involvement by the children in decorating a chart as part of a billboard will help children visualize what they do eat. This allows the children to reflect as the unit progresses as the children grow in their understandings about healthy food. At the end of the sequence the children will have the opportunity to revisit the billboard to consider and discuss the foods they could include in their lunches to help them stay healthy.

The next three lessons focus children’s understanding of the foods that we all should eat and provide an elementary introduction to the food groups and the food guide pyramid. The literacy session can be used to support the more complex language terms introduced, eg nutritious, proteins, vitamins.

As children will always want treats/sweets, the fifth lesson in the sequence serves to provide some alternatives to the usual sweets, snacks and drinks available. This lesson provides an opportunity to include parents, who can assist in preparing a range of healthy party foods. [This recognizes the importance of gaining parent support for behavior changes associated with food choices, as the link between home and school is an important one].

The final lesson – Reflection, provides closure to the unit. A whole class construction of the food triangle will take place. This is followed by an individual assessment opportunity where all children in small groups have an opportunity to participate in constructing the food guide pyramid.

Lesson 1: Introduction: Foods we eat for lunch.
Time: 15 minutes

Increasingly accepts responsibility for personal/ community health

Defends the need for making decisions that enhance health

Learning Experience:
[Note: as part of literacy session a reading/writing response associated with ‘Emily’s Wonderful Pie’ will serve to motivate discussion about what we eat for lunch].

— Children will discuss their favorite foods eaten for lunch and say why they chose those foods.
— Children will decorate a chart that will become a section of a class billboard with an array of foods eaten for lunch.

— Pictures of foods commonly eaten by children for lunch (prepared well in advance due to observation of children’s lunch-time eating habits over a period of time).
— Text: Emily’s Wonderful Pie [see References]
— Large chart labeled Foods we eat for lunch (and dated).

Lesson 2: Eating Healthy Foods.
Time: 12 Minutes

Identifies some options available when making simple decisions

Make basic choices about foods by sorting different foods into groups

Learning Experience:
[Note: Eating Right – Modeled readings of factual text during literacy session].
— Re-read relevant part of text and refer to the foods we should eat.
— Children brainstorm food groups, ie cereals; fruit/vegetables; meats/nuts (proteins) and dairy.
— Children will sort food items/cardboard pictures into food group triangles.

— Text: Eating Right[see References].
— Chart (as part of class billboard) and cardboard food pics.
— Packets of food samples – ‘Meeting Needs’ Teacher Resource [eg grain + processed product]
— Triangles to support food pyramid concept – hoops can be used instead]

Lesson 3: Healthy Foods.
Time: 20 Minutes

Outcome: Display basic positive health practices
Indicator: Talk about different foods that keep them healthy

Prior Knowledge: Have Read/Discussed ‘A balanced Diet’ [Childcraft, Vol 5 ‘Your Body’]

Focus Questions:
— What kinds of foods are good for us?
— What kinds of foods should we eat only a little of?

Learning Experience:
— Children take turns to balance the diet using weighted food boxes and a doll.
— Children jointly construct a sentence that reflects what we now know about the foods we should eat more of and the foods we should eat less of.

— ‘A balanced diet’ (topic from Childcraft Vol 5 Your Body) [see References]
— Small packets of weighted food items, eg too many chips will tip the balance.
— One doll; Reflection chart for billboard

Lesson 4: Nutritious or Not?
Time: 15 Minutes

Prior Knowledge: Science lesson: [How to make pastry/pie]

Identifies some options available when making simple decisions.
Increasingly accepts responsibility for personal and community health

Generates a number of possible solutions to a problem.
Defends the need for making decisions that enhance health

Focus Questions:
— Is a pie for lunch always the best choice?
— When would having a pie for lunch not be the best choice?

Learning Experience:
— Re-read Emily’s Wonderful Pie. Challenge children’s ideas through critical literacy approach.
— Elicit ideas about what pies are made from.
— Brainstorm any nutritious ingredients in pies and ingredients we should eat only in small amounts. Stress moderation aspect about fatty foods as stated in Eating Right.
[Note: The purpose has to be realistic – as a canteen food, pies are easy to sell and the desire to purchase will always be greater than one sequence of lessons on food can change. Ideally a whole-school approach to continue this focus ought to occur over time].

Lesson 5: Healthy Party Food? Yes!
Time: 45 Min [Lesson: 15 m; Prep 30 m – Recess-lunch]

Display basic positive health practices
Increasingly accepts responsibility for personal/ community health

Talk about different foods that keep them healthy
Values the need to pursue healthy lifestyles

Focus Questions:
— Why do you think these foods are eaten only sometimes?
— What sorts of ingredients do you find a lot of in most party foods?

Learning Experience:
— Re-read ‘Mr Gumpy’s Outing’. Discuss the foods they think the animals shared.
— Refer to Picture talk from HSIE lessons – Party and ‘Junk food’ picture talk.
— Elicit ideas about special occasions – focus questions.
— Discuss with children foods that can be fun and healthy.
— Children (with parent helpers) prepare and eat healthy party food.

Parent helpers, various foods, text: Mr Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham [see References], Food pictures associated with HSIE topic Meeting Needs ‘We Need Food’ [ie. culturally/gender diverse images]

Lesson 6: Refection
Time: 20 min

Display basic positive health practices
Identifies some options available when making simple decisions
Increasingly accepts responsibility for personal/ community health

Talks about different foods that keep them healthy
Identifies a range of foodstuffs and groups them according to their sources
Classifies foods as healthy/unhealthy for you
Defends the need for making decisions that enhance health

Learning Experience: Joint construction of T chart:
— Children tell which foods they now know to be nutritious and healthy
— Children tell which foods they now know they should have in small amounts [These will be displayed on class billboard]
— Children reconstruct triangular food guide pyramid.

Chart for billboard, teacher made resource – 3D food triangle/pyramid.


Board of Studies (1999) Personal Development, Health and Physical Education K-6 Syllabus.Board of Studies. Sydney
Board of Studies (1999) Personal Development, Health and Physical Education K-6 Modules.Board of Studies. Sydney
Board of Studies (1998) Human Society and Its Environment K-6 Syllabus. Board of Studies. Sydney
Burningham, J (1970) Mr Gumpy’s Outing. Jonathon Cape. London
Cornish, J (1997) Emily’s Wonderful Pie. Scholastic. Sydney
McGinty, AB (1998) Staying Healthy: Eating Right. Rosen Publishing Group. Canada
World Book International (1996) International Childcraft. World Book International. London

Marg Duncan, Lennox Head, NSW, Australia.

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